STFD! versus GTFO!? There can be only one!

War-painted Header!
War-painted Header!

STFD! was incomplete and outplayed this week at Tin Whistle Trivia. We offer no excuses; we do offer an explanation.

Since the Silbergleit Summer Carnival pulled up its tent pegs and hoofed it out of town, we expected fewer/weaker competitors and we handicapped our varsity team accordingly. Our magnanimous, parity-seeking actions (we left both Abigail and Emily off the roster!) were horribly misplaced, as five fully-staffed rival teams ponied up and came to play harder than megashark and giant octopus combined.

We did not know who won the first ever Monday Night Football game, we did not know all of the monthly birthstones, we were not familiar with Jay-Z’s catalog of crap, we did not know Vince Vaughn’s sundry Hollywood aliases, and there were absolutely no questions concerning the wingspan of fowl.

Homework must be done!
Feel lucky, punk?

Andy also proved to be, in the words of one observer, “pretty damn useless” during crunch time, since the final round was a puzzle variety akin to the brain-wrenching rebus riddles to be found beneath the evil caps of Lucky Lager. This is an area where Andy has never performed above the .08 percentile, and he once again folded before the challenge like a house of cards assembled by a kindergarten class.

A few Tin Whistle Trivia final round puzzle examples:

  1. 18 H I A R O G
  2. 200 D F P G I M
  3. 8 S O A S S
Would-be utensil usurpers?
Would-be utensil usurpers?

But perhaps more troubling than our third-place finish was the emergence of a new trivia team named Get The Fork Out!, a team clearly parodying the legendary success of Shut The Front Door! with admirably postmodern, mock homage.

This new team (which finished in forkly fourth… heh heh!) will undoubtedly polarize trivia fans, since it makes sense to either Shut The Front Door! or to Get The Fork Out!, but to do both is unnecessarily redundant.

Next week we will field a complete, well-conditioned, motivated team. We will listen to additional crappy music, we will drink and solve several cases of the Lucky Lager, and we will arrive early to Shut The Front Door! before the fork folks even arrive. We’re curious to see if Get The Fork Out! turn into Lettuce The Fork In! when faced with a blocked entrance.

STFD!’s latest victory has many whispering the “D” word

Best in Show, Bro!
Best in Show, Bros!

They said it when Warren Remedy won her third best-in-show, they said it about the Carringtons when Alexis showed up in a Denver courthouse, they said it when the Patriots lifted their third Lombardi trophy, and now they’re saying it about a formidable group of triviateurs dominating Thursdays at The Tin Whistle. Is Shut The Front Door! now officially a dynasty?

Craig, The Tin Whistle owner, said, “they’re equal parts evil genius, comedic hubris, and New England moxie. It’s not just that they keep taunting and winning, but it’s the myriad of ways they backup their unsportsmanlike conduct with stellar performances. They’ve built early leads and coasted at times, sure, but they’ve also demonstrated an uncanny knack for pulling out late round victories when necessary. I don’t know if they’re a dynasty yet, but my receipts tell me that they eat and drink an average of 137% of their winnings, so I sure as hell hope they keep winning.”

Kenny, team captain for the rival Headers, expressed profound frustration at his team’s inability to overcome STFD!. “I’m profoundly frustrated! We just haven’t found the right mix of team members yet. I really thought that adding two Michigan alumni and a semi-pro golfer would put us over-the-top, but we came up short again. It’s profoundly frustrating! Worse yet, we won’t be able to compete again until Joanie’s (Joanie is Kenny’s wife and The Headers ‘chief wrong answer giver’ according to Kenny) school hits a significant holiday break in the calendar, so these smug bastards will no-doubt be feeling mighty proud of themselves for an extended period of time. I’d like to say something nice about STFD!. I know that’s the right thing to do, but honestly, I really just hope they all get the swine flu, food poisoning, and pink-eye at the same time.”

Big-mouthed dominance: it must be STFD!
Big-mouthed dominance STFD! style...

Michael, from Billie Jean, sounded decidedly less bitter and expressed no desire for STFD! to fall prey to a porcine pandemic. “People forget, but Billie Jean won two or three times early on. They lost to us a few times, congratulated us, and then they started routinely and matter-of-factly kicking our ass week-in and week-out. Ha! Who knew!? Now they have this aura of invincibility that gives them a real competitive edge over some of the teams. Even when you have them down a few points, it’s as if you’re just waiting for them to make a move. Are they a dynasty? Yeah… they are, but we’re still going to compete and try to take them down.”

STFD! meets Dynasty!
STFD!'s date with Dynasty!

John, STFD! alumnus, offers little hope to would-be usurpers. “It’s funny. When I left the team to open up my novelty shop, Provincetown Enfuego, in California, people started saying that STFD! would come back to the pack. Lol… not likely. I know they stumbled for one week, but those bastards bounced back and I wouldn’t be surprised if they run the table for the rest of the season. They’re focused like wound-up Santa Monica crack fiends at this point.” Pushed for insight into the team’s success, John added, “basically they’re glory whores and would rather place bets on trivial matters than better mankind in any way. They’ll ride this donkey downhill until its hooves crack and then jump on something else that amuses them.”

No one from the present STFD! team would comment on this story unless I bought them drinks (they didn’t look like they needed any more), but they did tell me to remind you to bring your prettiest 20 dollar bill down to see them. Think you have what it takes to shut up Shut The Front Door!? Trivia takes place Thursday nights at The Tin Whistle.

Reuters and the AP contributed to this story. Some quotes may have been paraphrased, corrected for spelling, or invented entirely.

Wolverine-powered Header win on tap?

The Headers are winning!
Headers are beating the infidels!

Since a Harvard-educated team member has proven insufficient to topple the juggernaut that was STFD! and is “The Trivia Team to be Named Later,” The Headers are now reaching out to Michigan alumni (just as the Sith reached out to young Anakin Skywalker) to aid their trivial cause.

Oh no! I hope there’s not a question about Michigan football’s record in 2008 (3W+9L = ouch by my math!), or whom they ripped off for their football helmet art work (thanks Coach Fritz!), or how much a cured wolverine pelt is worth in Saskatchewan (half a case of Molson and a carton of Benson & Hedges!).

No matter… at least one dead desert dictator’s spokesman has predicted a Header win this Thursday. Too bad he broke into song; we deduct A LOT of points for that.

Baghdad Bob’s Song of Silbergleit Victory

What hit me?
What hit me?

Who’s the family on the team
That loses to Andy!?
S-I-L B-E-R G-L-E-I-T!
Hey there! Hi there! Header there!
Your losing streak is a bad dream!
But this week brings a win by…

Silbergleit! Silbergleit! Silbergleit!

For once they’ll hold a stranger’s twenty
High! High! High! High!

Come along and sing Bob’s song
And belly to the bar!
S-I-L B-E-R G-L-E-I-T!

Jacksonian 20 Dollar “Damn You, Kenny!” Dirge

(Sung to the tune of any major musical but Oklahoma!)

First the national bank and now Kenny!
I'll miss you, Kenny!

I used to live in Kenny’s pocket,
But now ride a different hip!
No one told me it was down on the docket,
My move to Moore’s tight money clip!

I used to hang with kite-flying Bennies!
I used to live with Ulysses S. Grants,
I’ll never forgive that damn Kenny,
Now my bunkmates are small bill pissants!

This move, dear friends, got me thinking,
My life now will always be hard!
I’m lucky to see an Abe Lincoln,
As I’m crushed by a blue debit card!

At Kenny weep tears and shout curses,
Since Headers get trivia wrong!
Other 20’s should start penning verses,
Of their own sullen Silbergleit songs!

Beware tenants of Kenny’s wallet,
Thinking lint and life wonderful bores!
Keep a bag packed, as nothing can stall it,
When a lost bet moves you in with the Moores!

I used to live in Kenny’s pocket,
But now ride a different hip!
No one told me it was down on the docket,
My move to Moore’s tight money clip!

Blogwall of Shame #1

Wearing it well!
Might want to cut eye holes next time!

We may be misers when it comes to praise, but here at Moorezilla LLC we are quite generous when it comes to illuminating flaws, shortcomings, and other imperfections. At times, our righteous vitriol rises quicker than the water levels in Zion National Park during a thunderstorm, so we’ve adopted the bullet point emergency shame list to release the negative pressure when we feel deluged by a host of underperforming targets.

Shame on YOU:

  • The Headers, for coming in last place on trivia night 8/20/09. That wasn’t a poor showing; that was a non-showing. If you were strippers, you’d have gone home empty handed, so I guess that means you might be strippers, because you went home empty handed after showing everyone nothing, instead of showing some people everything, or something like that. In short, next time, keep your clothes on but try to show people something. Your lousy performance has, frankly, damaged my control of the English language, so try to get your act together before my blog suffers.
  • Mainstream media, for praising Ted Kennedy, a guy who should have been in the state penitentiary (see here, or here), not in the Senate.
  • Red Sox, for (a.) signing Billy Wagner (bad enough!) and then (b.) CONTINUING to praise Ted Kennedy during the White Sox game. Eunice good… Teddy bad. Schmucks!
  • Ron Paul. You know what you did.
  • Gourmet Gardens, for putting your sushi/sashimi columns right next to each other on the ordering sheet. It doesn’t matter if every other sushi restaurant does the same thing; I hold you to a higher standard.
  • Tropical Storm Danny, for planning on coming to New England on a Saturday.
  • Don Draper. You know what you did.
  • General Electric, for cutting your share dividends, moving sideways, getting caught lying to the SEC, and continuing your lackluster performance despite NBC being a mouthpiece for Obama health care programming. You should be up to at least $20 a share by now!
  • The Headers, again, for trying to break up STFD! after STFD! already kind of broke up. Some of us will be beating all of you… TONIGHT!
  • Whatever phantom leftover stinks in our fridge right now, for stinking in our fridge right now and not having the guts to show yourself on trash day.

STFD! opens the mailbag and closes a chapter…

With our fourth consecutive victory, it’s time for Shut The Front Door! to answer a little fanmail. We like getting fanmail, but it’s laborious to answer it, and if we answer it at all, it will only be through electronic media. When the Tin Whistle trivia people ask how much a stamp costs, we will have to guess. The last time we bought stamps they were 18 cents.

Audrey from Cambridge, MA asks, “what is best in life according to STFD!?”

I said it was chicken, fool!
I said it was chicken, fool!

Well, Audrey, our team philosophy is very similar to Conan’s. There’s really nothing we like better than “to crush our trivial enemies, to see them driven before us in shame, and to hear the lamentation of their women.” We also like our bar tab to be subsidized by inferior competitors. What’s the best tasting drink in the world? For us, Audrey, it’s a free one provided by some schlepp team snatching a loss from the jaws of victory when we use our Joker Double in the third round.

Glen from Worcester, MA asks, “if you guys are so smart, how come you don’t order appetizers when the appetizers are half-price, since they’re half-price on the same night as trivia?”

I could just say that it doesn’t matter, since we’re buying pizza and entrees with the money fleeced from other teams… actually… that’s exactly why it doesn’t matter. You go ahead and watch your wallet, Glen, but STFD! plans on spending money like drunken sailors until some other team steps up its game.

Reverend Cherrycoke offers, “pride cometh before the fall. You should be humble in victory as you will eventually taste defeat.”

Sounds like loser talk to us. Perhaps your unsolicited spiritual musings could be better spent comforting “not winning teams” like The Headers. We’ll dig up an address for them and send it along.

Three shall replace one!
Three shall replace one!

John from Methuen, MA asks, “now that John is leaving to start a trivia team fork in Los Angeles, California, who will replace John and will you change your team name?”

How can you adequately replace a team member who combines the incredibly destructive propensity to blurt out correct answers loud enough for other teams to hear with the incredibly positive propensity to come up with Dale Earnhardt’s car number? Wait… Addison reminds me that John got that freaking question wrong. But what about the greatest carrier of salmonella… err… Rachel reminds me that John got that wrong too. Emily also feels bitter that John vetoed her wish to go with “middle of the country” instead of LA for the locale of George Clooney’s failed baseball tryout. Still… John has supplied many, many correct answers (both to us and to other teams!), so we will have a very difficult time replacing him.

Short term, we will replace John with a revolving trio of Michael Jackson, Bubbles the Chimp, and Lucy the Bulldog (Lucy checks out as all English, no French, per John’s demand for AKC papers!).

We do not yet have a new team name, but I like Anti-inglorious Bastards.

Churn, baby, churn!

Classical Mound of Butter!
Classical Mound of Butter!

Part I of a IV part spirited defense of nature’s second greatest grease!

Writing a defense of butter is in some ways akin to sticking up for the 1927 New York Yankees, the 1986 Chicago Bears, or the Mossad; none of them really need any help taking care of themselves, but once in a while it’s necessary to set the record straight, to expose false rumors, and to restore sanity to the public discussion.

Although public opinion begrudgingly places butter above margarine and parkay these days, butter has not yet regained its rightful center spot in the nutritional pyramid, and I, for one, can no longer stomach such a glaring example of dietary discrimination.

Most butter alarmists begin with a campaign of “butter offers little nutritional benefit and stops your heart, so why would you eat it?” In part one we’ll deal with the “no benefits in butter” part of this vicious, groundless slander.

What’s good about butter? Here’s a START according to Donna Gates:

  1. Butter is rich in the most easily absorbable form of Vitamin A necessary for thyroid and adrenal health.
  2. Butter & Chocolate = goodness!
    Butter & Chocolate = goodness!

    Contains lauric acid, important in treating fungal infections and candida.

  3. Contains lecithin, essential for cholesterol metabolism.
  4. Contains anti-oxidants that protect against free radical damage.
  5. Has anti-oxidants that protect against weakening arteries.
  6. Is a great source of Vitamins E and K.
  7. Is a very rich source of the vital mineral selenium.
  8. Saturated fats in butter have strong anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties.
  9. Butter contains conjugated linoleic acid, which is a potent anti-cancer agent, muscle builder, and immunity booster
  10. Vitamin D found in butter is essential to absorption of calcium.
  11. Protects against tooth decay.
  12. Is your only source of an anti-stiffness factor, which protects against calcification of the joints.
  13. Anti-stiffness factor in butter also prevents hardening of the arteries, cataracts, and calcification of the pineal gland.
  14. Is a source of Activator X, which helps your body absorb minerals.
  15. churningIs a source of iodine in highly absorbable form.
  16. May promote fertility in women.
  17. Is a source of quick energy, and is not stored in your body’s adipose tissue.
  18. Cholesterol found in butterfat is essential to children’s brain and nervous system development.
  19. Contains Arachidonic Acid (AA) which plays a role in brain function and is a vital component of cell membranes.
  20. Protects against gastrointestinal infections in the very young or the elderly.

In part II we’ll deal with the possible motivations behind “bad-talking butter” and expose the nutritional and pharmacological industries as little more than greedy, lobbying cabals concerned much more with the production of profits than the production of healthy consumers.

And don’t fret about bacon; we’ll be getting to pork bellies after we’re done with butter. Never tried butter wrapped in bacon? Soon you will!

Shut The Front Door! memorabilia beckons…

Who's the champion? STFD! is, biznitch!
Who's the champion? STFD! is, biznitch!

With three consecutive victories and counting, it’s time for Shut The Front Door! to shamelessly cash in on our marginal celebrity status. We still have plenty of baby onesies left in 0 to 9 month sizes, but avid collectors need to move fast to secure one of our VERY limited edition “Freddie Mercury Knows that STFD! are the Champions; do you?” action figures.

Fast Freddie can be yours for a mere $29.95 plus a piddly extra $6.95 for shipping and handling. Kit comes complete with a collectible, faux-mahogany stand that sings one of three catchy, braggart jingles when you press the Queen button. Checkerboard polyester blend leotard resists stains, laughs in the face of fading, and effectively frightens away timid or smallish pets before they can chew on Freddie’s mic stand!

But wait! There’s more! Best of all, Freddie’s chest hair is chi-chi-chi-CHIA-FIED and grows out (just add water, sunshine!) into a randomly-selected STFD! member likeness… wow WOW! Who will you get? Will it be Wrong Answer Rachel, Empty Bottle Emily, Scratch Ticket John, IMDB Addison, Crabigail Regina, Redd “Alzheimer” Andy, or maybe the elusive outcast Schultz (unofficially banished from STFD! after insisting that the Mississippi river is longer than the Missouri)?

Two AA batteries and chia seeds included. Significant assembly required.

Joanie Implicated!

It’s never a comfortable situation when family members face indictment, but recently surfaced psychoanalytical art evidence suggests Silbergleit foul play in the death of Emily’s undeniably ugly, yet once functional designer sunglasses.

In Exhibit #1 we see what appears to be an innocuous, demi-nouveau, pastoral/expressionist/dadaish, chair-in-the-wayish scene that Joanie is well-known for producing. The style is unmistakable (see Joanie’s Lime in Repose series numbers 1-29), but this particular painting, Solitary Break-fest, also betrays a clue to Joanie’s criminal intent if you concentrate on the area highlighted by the red arrow. Don’t be distracted by the chair, the Capn Crunch, or the pop tart; they and the rest of the breakfast are nothing but red herrings! The action, my friends, is on the water colored floor where you can clearly see the future crime scene!

Exhibit #1
Exhibit #1

In Exhibit #2, we see a close up of the floor section of the painting and upon careful inspection the evidence mounts like a bloody leather glove left behind a pool house. The injured and gasping spectacles are an obvious allusion to future nefarious plans, but note also the angry azure pebbles and the Daliesque warping of earth patterns culminating in ferocious flesh-toned stones; these “flesh” formations suggest that the eyewear will be bludgeoned physically, brutally, haphazardly, yet in a seemingly accidental manner.

The malevolent minerals foreshadow menacingly, “maybe you’ll be stepped on… or maybe you’ll be sat on… but in any case, you won’t see it coming. You might allow other people to gaze into the blinding sun, but you’ll never see your own death coming.”

Everything about this painting warns like the yellow and black stripes on a wasp’s abdomen, “DANGER! MY ASS IS A DEADLY WEAPON!”

Exhibit #2
Exhibit #2

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “nice try, buddy, but where are your culturally-established art critic/historian credentials? You may draw a mean stick figure, you may even be the master of the crayon and construction paper greeting card, but that doesn’t make you any Robert Hughes. Great artists do not necessarily make great art critics! For all we know, you could be completely off-base (if not patently postmodern) in your interpretation, and your ‘evidence’ looks largely contrived, tenuous, and circumstantial. Why should we believe YOU!?”

Is Joanie guilty, Mr. Eight Ball?
Is Joanie guilty, Mr. Eight Ball?

No problem, doubter! I understand that some of you put faith only in narrow-minded specialists, believing perhaps that Renaissance men of genius no longer walk the earth in this day and age. But you don’t have to take my amateur word for it. I’ve set up an unassailable test for confirmation. Earlier today, coffee mug in hand, I formally asked the unquestionable, omniscient oracle perched on my desk, “did Joanie intentionally destroy Emily’s sunglasses with her derriere?” The eight-ball’s second answer (his first answer was a disappointing and inconclusive “concentrate and ask again”) pretty much removes any question of Joanie’s guilt.

STFD! Slams Door on would-be rivals… AGAIN!

Ask not for whom the baby cries...
Like the onesie? You'll love the diaper!

We might not know what Vanilla Ice’s real name is (and we’re secretly proud of this fact!), we might not know that chicken moves more salmonella annually than hamburger (well… we did know that but we have to overrule Rachel at least once per night even if it costs us points!), we might not know that Whitney Houston was on the cover of 17 Magazine when she was 16 (poorly named magazine!), and we might have used revisionist history to move Tom Brady’s draft pick  from the 6th round to the 5th round (how could so many NFL teams be so stupid for so long?), BUTSTFD still knew plenty of trivia to remain undefeated at The Whistle.

Our thanks go out to The Headers for wimping out! We would have won any way, but we might not have been able to do as many shots before the joker round.

Abby Statistics, Graphs, and Earnings Outlook!

Impressive Height Gains!
Impressive Height Gains!

Here are the latest measurements:

  • Age: 8.7 months
  • Height: 26 inches
  • Height percentile: 11
  • Weight: 14lbs 9ounces
  • Weight percentile: 2
  • Weight for height %: 11
  • Head Circumference: 41.5cm
  • Head Circumference percentile: 3
  • BMI: 15.2
Addition of avocado, peas, and leaves to diet has proven effective!
Addition of avocado, peas, and leaves to diet has proven effective!
Abigail's Average Daily Activity Expenditures.
Abigail's Average Daily Activity Expenditures.
Abigail INC Shareholder Report for Quarter 2, 2009
Abigail INC Shareholder Report for Quarter 2, 2009

As you can see from the chart above, Abigail Inc. continues to see a negative earnings flow, and we anticipate a net loss for the next 72 quarters. Depending upon our ROI on golf and tennis lessons, we might see an improved outlook after the 62nd quarter, but we are conservatively hedging our mainstream, widely-accepted athletics calls with defensive athletics puts on left-handed fencing lessons on odd Saturdays to protect against the threat of college tuition.

This document contains forward-looking statements. Past performance is not an indicator of future gains.

Trivial Victory at The Tin Whistle!

It took us a couple of weeks and three name changes to get it right, but under our new team name and extended roster we are undefeated, unchallenged, undisputed masters of the trivial. Important things we’ve learned so far include: Redd Foxx is not Red Skelton, Dr. Pepper is older than Mr. Coke, Frankfurt is in Kentucky, tooth decay is not contagious, Addison rules the animation department, the Beatles still suck, even though we can spell “mississippi” it’s the wrong answer, brownie bites should be eaten AFTER jello shots, and most important, we’ve learned that Abby WILL eventually fall  asleep in a loud room in an upside down high chair.

Headers? We'll knock your headers right off!
Headers? We'll knock your headers right off!

On Flirting

Wednesday is Prince spaghetti night, a common event distinguished by easy dishes, gluttonous portions, and simple thoughts. Nancy invaded my Prince spaghetti night by appearing in my kitchen, holding my 6 month-old daughter in her arms, and delivering me the nightmare kōan: “are babies capable of flirting?” After delivering this incendiary query, she handed back my smiling child and left with my wife to dine and to drink delicious cocktails elsewhere, so that I would have ample time to ponder this riddle in as close to meditative silence as one can get when one lives with a 6 month-old daughter with powerful lungs and a 4 year-old dog who sits in a chair by the window and refuses to allow people to walk by the house without hearing his disapproval.

Merriam-Webster says the following about flirt:

Pronunciation: \ˈflərt\.  Function: verb. Etymology: origin unknown (unknown!? always a bad sign!). Date of origin: 1580.

Flirt is an intransitive verb with the following definitions:

1: to move erratically: to flit.

2a: to behave amorously without serious intent. 2b: to show superficial or casual interest or liking (flirted with the idea) ; also : experiment (a novelist flirting with poetry).

3: to come close to reaching or experiencing something —used with (flirting with disaster) (the temperature flirted with 100°).

You may kiss my hand, peasant.
You may kiss my hand, peasant.

Let’s tackle the easy ones first. Does Abigail “move erratically?” I prefer to describe my daughter’s movements as magical grace, but to the objective observer watching her flip awkwardly from stomach to back and from back to stomach, or to anyone with the luck to see Abby’s “armless” crawl across the bed sheet, it’s probably safe to describe her movements as erratic.

Definition 2a is the one everyone’s waiting for, so let’s hold off on that one for now. It’s better to eliminate the shorter-toothed pack before sneaking up on the alpha wolf.

Does Abigail “show superficial or casual interest or liking (flirted with the idea)”, or does she “experiment (a novelist flirting with poetry)?” Abigail does show casual interest in our plastic neglectacenter playarea (sorry, Lindsey, I know that the term “neglectacenter” is shamelessly stolen from you, but at least you get an inline note! That’s no small consequence when the note appears on a blog of Moorezilla’s stature, weight, and cultural influence!), Abigail does show casual interest in our television (whether it’s on or not), and Abigail does show casual interest in dustbunnies of a particular size and resemblance to actual woodland creatures. Furthermore, Abigail does not merely “experiment” with poetry; she speaks ONLY in poetry. Everything she says rhymes with “ew” or “ooo” or “ahh.” I actually tried to follow her language rules for an entire day once, and let me assure you that it is no small feat. Used in the wrong setting, strict adherence to the baby vernacular and grammar can cost you your job and/or your freedom!

Does Abby ever “come close to reaching or experiencing something,” or does she “flirt… with disaster?” I’m going to have to say, “yes” to this question as well. Our changing table is nosebleed high and precariously narrow, yet Abby, without fail, tries to roll over and off it during each and every diaper change. We have a picture of a cow in Abby’s crib (we believe that animal recognition skills are as, if not more, important than reading skills for children), and Abby repeatedly head butts the cow in the nose. The closest I’ve been to a cow is eating a rare steak, but I imagine that head butting a cow in the nose is at least a cousin of “flirting with disaster.” I will hang a picture of a bull in the crib this week; if she head butts a bull, I think we can safely check this definition completely off.

But what is the intent of the child?
But what is the intent of the child?

So this brings us back to 2a: “to behave amorously without serious intent.” Does my daughter, or more accurately, my nephew, Max, (since he is the real spur for this important investigation) hold the potential to behave amorously without serious intent? Max definitely behaves amorously. I doubt anyone would question his amorousness, so the matter hangs on his seriousness of intent. What does Max actually intend when he behaves amorously and is he really serious about it? Is he always blindly seeking milk, or does he… nay… CAN he on occasion, merely flash a smile or a wink for “intentless” purposes?

I can’t ask him. Even if he would answer me, I find awkward conversations… well.. awkward, and I have to imagine that there’s a chance that he would too. Can I really risk becoming the “weird” uncle while trying to settle someone else’s workplace bet? I don’t think so.

Still… there must be a way to at least ballpark Max’s potential for acting amorously without intent. Remember, I don’t really need to prove that Max is flirting; I only need to prove that Max can flirt. For this, we need to roll out our favorite resident psychiatrist (and coke addict!) Dr. Freud! Let’s see what the crazy cigar smoking cat has to say about baby flirting, shall we?

“From the moment of birth the infant is driven in his amorous actions by the desire for bodily/sexual pleasure, where this is seen by Freud in almost mechanical terms as the desire to release mental energy. Initially, infants gain such release, and derive such pleasure, through the act of sucking or of imitating sucking, and Freud accordingly terms this the ‘oral’ stage of development. Infants will certainly behave in this manner without sexual [that’s serious!] intent (emphasis mine!) on occasion, but the desire for sexual pleasure exists in infants.”

Whoa… that seals it, and that’s a lot more than I wanted to know! If Freud says babies can act amorously with or without serious intent, that’s good enough for me; now that I know, I’m going to start forgetting this as soon as I can. For the record, though, with a score of 3.75 out of 4 on the truthmeter, babies are hereby declared capable of flirting as long as flirting is used as an intransitive verb.

Go get em, Max, you potentially amorous without serious intention son of a gun! Abby, go to your room and stay there until you’re 25.

Stop listening to Ragnar Olegård!

The pro-baby bjorn lobby is strong. It’s tough to go too far on a sunny day without seeing some yuppie couple slinging around a little person in one of those fake marsupial pouches. The problem is, however, that if you’re less than 6 months old, your view from the baby bjorn is as bad as any sled husky rearward of the lead dog. All you see is a non-stop commercial for Adirondack, North Face, or some other over-priced fleece product.

Day at the beach? You tell me; I didn't see crap!
Day at the beach? You tell me. I didn't see crap!

So Ragnar writes:

“Ever since the 1970s, study after study has shown the importance of early eye-to-eye contact, of close bodily contact between parents and their new-born babies or infants. Blah blah blah… The baby bjorn facilitates this like no other product.” – Ragnar Olegård

Maybe so! Maybe the bjorn is the best thing since disposable diapers, but this crazy bjorn-pimping Swede is costing us little people a wealth of visual stimulation.

Over there I’m with my Mom, my Dad, and my 2nd cousin and they’re enjoying the view from Lighthouse Beach. What am I staring at? You guessed it: a Champion jacket logo. Thanks for the ride, Captain Kangaroo, but I might as well have stayed at home sucking on a bottle, since craning my neck just brings the zipper into view.

Manny being Manny? I'll take your word for it...
Manny being Manny? I'll take your word for it...

And I’m not really one to complain for no reason! It’s not like I’m picking a fight here, but look at some of the other things I’ve missed due to this stupid baby-carrying contraption!

Here I am in Fenway park the last time Manny Ramirez showed up to play left field. Great seats, jackass! Mortgage my college fund to get them? I don’t suppose the breastaurant is open?

It’s bad enough to miss the entire game, but how would you also like to be crushed into a hodge podge of peanut shells, mustard, cheap beer, and whatever else this slob pours down the front of him during a four and a half hour game?

Here we are on a family trip to Europe. Same freaking deal! Paris in Spring is really no different than Peabody in Spring if you tour the continent in an f’n bjorn.

Merde! Merde! Merde! Merde! Allez-vous en!
Merde! Merde! Merde! Merde! Allez-vous en!

So you might want to think about using the stroller once in a while. Sure, it’s a little less convenient and you have to hose down the tires when one of you absent-mindedly runs it through the fresh dog poo on the sidewalk. But isn’t that better than every exciting event and cultural scene appearing behind your baby’s back?

Ooooh... pahoehoe! Enjoy that ham and pineapple pizza.
Ooooh... pahoehoe! Enjoy that ham and pineapple pizza.

And it’s Abigail by the fur of a hood!

Abigail edges Max at the finish in a thrilling Baby Nascar race!
Abigail edges Max at the finish in a thrilling Baby Nascar race!

If you tuned in early for the Baby Crawl by the Bay races, you witnessed Abigail’s complete dominance of the 5 meter freestyle belly, a race she won by two lengths.

Max proved himself a gamer, however, with a great showing in the 5 meter back crawl — pictured above and no doubt the cover of SI and Baby Racing magazines for March. In this photo finish, you can see that only a late burst by Abigail pushed her across the line for the win.  Is the baby racing field finally leveling?

Gracious in defeat, when interviewed after the race, Max commented, “listen… Abby is the baby we’re all trying to beat out here and it’s an honor just to be here today. She’s been racing since before I was even born, and she made this sport what it is today.”

When asked about the apparent size advantage Max has over her, despite his younger age, Abigail refused to point fingers but added, “I’ve always said that our sport needs to test for performance-enhancing drugs. I’m not accusing anyone of anything, but you’ve got to wonder about the size of that dude’s hands. I don’t know. It just seems odd. Look at my hand and then look at his. I’m just saying. I like Max. He’s a good kid and he’s gonna help push this sport to a new audience one day. He might be clean… but in any case someone should really check his diaper.”

Photo shoot fight…

It's regal, it's poised, it's Hogan!
It's regal, it's poised, it's Hogan!

Until very recently we’ve only had one model for all of our photo shoots, and his name is Hogan. Now that Abigail has arrived, Hogan has been grudgingly gracious when it comes to sharing camera time, but we were bound to have an incident eventually.

On Saturday, we took Hogan down to the little league field for a series of nude photos that we planned to submit to RRCUS for next year’s “Wild Ridges Rising!” Ridgeback calendar. He wasn’t thrilled about wearing only a thin nylon collar in the frigid temperatures and blowing snow of glacial Massachusetts, but after a bit of coaxing and leash tugging, he regained his professionalism and posed for the picture seen here.

He was quite pleased with the shot and figured the calendar shoot was a wrap, but since we were already on location we decided to take a few more shots.

Cut! Why are you two here!?
Cut! Cut! Cut! Why are you two here!?

Things turned suddenly ugly when Emily and Abigail casually strolled into a shot where Hogan was demonstrating his “action sit” between second and third base. You can see here that he is less than amused that Emily and Abigail have barged into a photo he felt had a legit chance to become the backdrop of either February or March of the RRCUS calendar.

Whether it was the early stages of frostbite on his tail or the final straw of once again sharing the stage with rival talent, Hogan lost his mind at this point, barked some unrepeatable comments at the cameraman, and then did what one should really refrain from doing to the person who feeds, houses, and walks you. It was not a proud moment for anyone involved.

We will not be submitting the resulting violent picture to RRCUS, although Hogan did argue later that it shows off his better side. We’re also now in the market for a good used camera!

Biting the hand that feeds!
Biting the hand that feeds!

Abigail visits the NICU… shows off weight gain!

Going back to NICU... NICU... NICU!
Going back to NICU... NICU... NICU!

As many of you probably know by now, Abigail escaped the womb early in order to take full advantage of the excellent NICU spa treatment offered at Salem Hospital. Over the course of her nine day resort vacation, Abigail lounged under blue ray tanning lights, enjoyed regular sea salt sponge baths, and wiled her minutes and hours in fresh-from-the-oven warm wraps. She enjoyed her stay immensely and she has constantly whined to return; here is her first visit.

Unlike the spartan lifestyle faced by your average rehab-bound celebrity, NICU staff kept bottles ever on hand for whenever Abigail felt like sucking back a warm one, and every finished bottle was succeeded by several rousing cheers and a Swedish back massage continued until leche-addled Abigail attained both burp and unconsciousness.

As you can see here, Lisa can barely hold the now massive Abigail. Abigail’s milk-based Fatkins diet has led to exponential weight gain, so Lisa has wisely adopted the two-handed short yardage football carry to accommodate Abigail’s new found bulk.

Baby Bauble Deconstruction #1

Not the floor; not much better
Not the floor, but not much better.

Many new parents try to keep the floor and their new infant separated by towels, blankets, or reasonably clean newspaper. Having infants on the floor is, ironically enough, comforting to new parents, since one of the recurring nightmares new parents face is the vision of their child falling from any of the myriad of high altitude perches at which children spend their early days (cribs, hopelessly under-reinforced bouncy chairs, countertops, local bars, black jack tables, human arms, etc.).  Cultivating activities that originate and take place on the floor eliminates the worry that a child will arrive at the ground from height with speed, but as anyone who has had an untimely visit from the Department of Social Services will attest, there should really be an expanse of colorful, educational fabric between your child and whatever toxins and unholy essences call your floor home.

We use the cushy, pastel zoological mat pictured here, and at first glance it may appear to be entirely adequate for infant floor exercises. Once you’ve stared at it for a few unbroken hours (or at least the portions of the mat not covered by your motionless child when she refuses to do even one more head up or roll over), you may notice that the artist’s grasp of the animal kingdom is at best vaguely creationist, and at worst frankly dangerous to young, developing minds. It’s clear that whoever manufactured and distributed this “play and learn” mat never spent any time in the African bush and probably never consulted so much as a zoo, a library, or an animal cracker box.

A short list of animal kingdom errors should convince you to choose your mats with better discretion than our early effort documented here.

Welcome to midnight!

Baby Abigail pwn you!
Baby Abigail pwn you! All your base are belong to us!

Sleep? Sleep, friends, is for when it’s light outside! Those wide open, unblinking shark eyes assure you that when it’s dark outside it’s wakey wakey scream and shaky!

What does approximately five and a half pounds of milk-drunk hyperactive Mooreling look like at the first minute of the spanking new day? Umm… she looks like this —–>

Total Abby minutes awake from 9:00am to 11:59pm = 6. Total Abby minutes awake from 12:01am to 8:59am = 527.2! And it’s another new Abigail night time record! Only brief, predictable dairy comas cut into the night time seconds available for parental torture.

Abigail’s First Post

My name is Abigail Jane and I was born at 1:32PM on Saturday, November 15 at Salem Hospital! I was 18 and 3/4 inches long and weighed 4 pounds 12 ounces, and I didn’t want to miss any of my first New England winter.

I also couldn’t stand the fact that some guy named Hogan was monopolizing this blog, so I’m here to put a stop to that immediately. Get ready for the Baby Abigail channel; the only Hogan you’ll be seeing is if he happens to be in the picture with me.

That’s my mother, Emily, holding me. She did a pretty good job, but my father was an outstanding coach.